APRES PARIS LE DELUGE
Look, Ma, Everyone Has Gone Crazy…Again
Be afraid of the lame, they’ll inherit your legs
Be afraid of the old, they’ll inherit your souls
Be afraid of the cold, they’ll inherit your blood
Apres moi le deluge, after me comes the flood
– Regina Spektor
I think it was my then managing editor, Chris Uhl, who aptly named this column Reality Check. I wanted to name it Fear No Art, but he was the managing editor and I gave in, but got him back by titling my first published collection of columns and essays Fear No Art in 2000; the one where I predict 9/11 and implore the United States government to make Osama bin Laden its number one priority in 1998. Ah, it’s all ancient history now. But, you see, it’s not. Uhl, it turns out, was correct. It is indeed time for a reality check, while also reminding ourselves of what lies in the shadows when we choose to ignore cold, sober fact and replace it with brush-fire panic.
The tragedy in Paris last Friday was horrifying; one might say, terrifying, which is the whole point of terrorism.
It certainly has unleashed the crazy in many of us.
And one cannot merely blame French President Francois Hollande, who has gone all Dick Cheney this week or the United States congress and more than two dozen governors, who have decided to ignore the fancy U.S. Constitution they’re always touting as sacrosanct to arbitrarily reject 10,000 Syrian refugees or our president, who has become queerly dismissive and condescending, or the host of presidential candidates, many of whom are running dying campaigns, making desperate attempts to appear tough or anti-Muslim or whatever claptrap plays in the sticks; one must look at us – 75 percent of whom wanted nothing to do with this nut house in the Middle East again just two weeks ago to a neck-wrenching u-turn of 65 percent wanting blood.
Oh, how nostalgia runs deep.
We’ve been here before. Of course ours was a first strike, shocking beyond belief, and within our borders. We had spent a half century whistling along while our government played chess with the Middle East and we consumed the oil as if a bottomless bounty with no consequences. So we went completely spastic; trading in civil rights and trampling on law, and invading everything. Now we know better; or maybe we don’t. Either way, we all need to calm the fuck down.
Here’s how I see the Paris attacks; a desperate attempt for a suddenly flummoxed and barely structured organization, ISIS, whose original edict or caliphate or religious falderal that hides behind maniacs with lives so spectacularly empty they trade them in for “a cause”, no more pathetic an existence can be conjured by human thought, has been seriously curtailed over the past few months. ISIS is not used to losing. It is losing.
As published here on 7/22 (THE IRAN DEAL AND THE SECRET WAR ON ISIS) and again on 10/7 (SYRIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST EITHER/OR THEORY) the days of the growing ISIS movement are over. The Paris attack not only does not alter this opinion, it strengthens it.
If one had money on ISIS, as if a sporting event, or looks at it as one might with the long-view of an historical eye; visa vie the Nazis making what appeared at the time as merely another aggressive move towards the East and the Soviet Union at the height of its power, which turned out to indeed be the beginning of the end for them, then it is easy to see that this maneuver serves no strategic purpose for its progress. Hitting a major European city, especially one that heretofore had no skin in the game but was merely the easiest target because of a) its normal unrest, b) its large Muslim population, and c) its borders are a sieve, only makes it more difficult for ISIS to complete its mission; unless of course it hopes as a last resort to turn the tide by terrorizing the efforts to thwart it.
Let’s remember, the original aim a of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), was the return of territories (which they see as holy), once robbed by centuries of progress (wholly Western created) to a 12th or 14th or whatever century construct in the name of Allah and Muhammad… blah, blah, blood on your children, Biblical/Qur’an stupidity. This had nothing to do with the al Qaeda model of striking a blow against infidels abroad. ISIS was not global, it was primeval territoriality. Then the United States decided to send in humanitarian aid to assist refugees on a mountain in early August of 2014. Only then did Americans appear on videos being beheaded. This caused a predictable stir here and got the John McCains of the world riled up. Of course a stiff wind motivates McCain to invade someone, which is why I thank the god Baal on a daily basis that bleating lunatic was never president. Moreover, the current president began yammering on about “red lines in the sand” in Syria and put us squarely into its cultural civil war, which stars a brutal dictator (a dime a dozen in the Middle East), President Bashar Assad, who is a puppet of the Russian government and its own brutal dictator, Vladimir Putin.
You see, “getting involved” is a bad move. It’s too late, of course. We’re involved. To what extent, we’ll see. I know two things for sure; 1) once Barack Obama exits stage left, there is no one currently running for his job that has a hoot-in-hell of winning it that will not get us more involved than him, on both sides of the political aisle, and 2) the progress and aim of ISIS is coming to a close.
Now we know better; or maybe we don’t. Either way, we all need to calm the fuck down.
It will not take months or even a year to complete, because its rise and expansion has taken decades-plus, as ISIS has transformed and morphed in some way shape or form since the late-90s. But whatever the hell it was trying to ultimately accomplish is pretty much done. And every time they conjure up a Paris or a Libya or the failed attempt in Germany, it speeds up its demise.
Sure, there is going to be some lone wacko who walks into a café or bar in New York or Washington or London to try and take a few of us out for “the cause”, but that is our world now; just as it is on a far greater scale that some gun-nut finds his way into a school to shoot a bunch of kids. And don’t think destroying ISIS destroys religious-motivate hatred anymore than the Pope talking about the church being horrified by priests raping children will halt that.
Apres moi le deluge.